Looking for a CC/Target Pistol
I've had little pistol time at the range. I've only shot my mom's .45 a few times. I have a lot of rifle and shotgun experience, but little in the field of pistols. I was hoping someone here could help direct me in the right direction.
I have a couple years before I can apply for my CC permit, but I'd like to buy my CCW soon so I can get used to everything about the gun. I want to be completely comfortable before I take my test, and given the privilege to carry a weapon on my person.
So like I said, I have little pistol training and experience. I was hoping someone could enlighten me on some models to look at. I only have a few main things I'm looking for. everything else is just going to be secondary to making my decision at this point.
*SA or DA/SA
*Somewhat compact. I don't want a full-blown 1911, but I also don't want a micro pocket pistol.
*Price range: topping out at about $400.
I wouldn't say I won't go over my budget, but I'd like to keep it simple for now. After years of hunting with shotguns and rifles, I've bought a few along the way to suit my needs at the time. But I did start out with a Woman/Youth 20ga shotgun because I couldn't handle my dad's 12ga. I think you all understand what I'm getting at.
I appreciate the help! Thanks!
Go to a local gun store and handle as many different firearms that you can and don't overlook revolvers. Find a gun that fits your hand (or several) and research it as much as possible before buying. Most manufacturers produce a decent weapon, some of course better than others, but you don't always get what you pay for. Even the great ones allow a lemon to get through once in a while. If the gun you like to handle is more expensive than your budget, consider looking for a used one. If you have access to a range that allows you to rent guns to shoot that will give you a better perspective.
Good advice above. I've noticed though, that a handgun for concealed carry and a target gun are likely different guns. Get one for each, otherwise you'll have to compromise on both.
The conventional wisdom is to handle a lot of weapons and choose the one that feels best in you hands. I've dispensed that wisdom many times. However from my experience it has not always played out that way.
My Walther PPKS (.380) felt better in my hands (by far) than my Gold Cup (.45). And initially I shot the Walther better than the Colt. However after not too many shooting sessions I consistently shot better using the .45 than the .380.
The same held true for my .44 magnums. The square but felt awkward, and the round butt felt good. But I shot the square butt weapon (a model 29) far better.
I think I would recommend a weapon that has a good reputation for accuracy and learn to shoot it. You'd be surprised how adaptable your hands are to various weapons.
A good quality 1911 is a good choice. A good quality .38 or .357 with a 4" or longer barrel is a good choice as well.
I carried my Gold Cup for many years CC in an inside the waistband holster in warmer weather and in a pancake holster under a sports jacket in cooler weather.
Shoulder rigs did not work for me. If you do a lot of weight lifting the spread of your lats has the weapon hang too far from your waist. So the weapon does not conceal well.
On the other hand, the spread of your lats gives ample space for the gun to hide on the belt. And my personal belief is that the stronger you are the better you will shoot.
A good used 1911 can be upgraded as you can afford it with a competition barrel/bushing, with a trigger job, with target sights, etc., so a solid, but plain jane .45 can be made into a really fine target weapon. It is a flat weapon and I found it to be heavy, but easily concealed. And it is a proven fight stopper. Also note that .45 ammo is cheaper than .40 ammo.
A case can be made for a Beretta 92 (9mm) and you could apply the same concepts to that weapon, though I don't think it is quite as flat as a .45. But the 9mm ammo is cheaper.
Packard has several good points. The advice to "find one that fits your hand" is just silly. Heck, you don't even know how to hold one yet. Fact is you can get used to hanging if you hang long enough, and you'll get used to the gun that you train with. Make sure it's ergonomically correct (you can reach all the controls without shifting grip), pick the caliber you want, and buy lotsa training ammo. Simple. And don't buy a Taurus or a High Point....LOL
Um, I think that's functionally equivalent to writing, "Find the gun that fits your hand."
Originally Posted by HK Dan
I second the notion that target shooting and concealed carry are oppositional, and require vastly different guns.
If your budget is limited, pick one or the other.
Generally speaking, any concealed-carry pistol you buy will be sufficiently accurate at short-to-medium-range to allow you to learn to become a good pistol shot. That statement even includes many short-barrel (2") revolvers.
Becoming a good pistol shot is not a matter of buying the right gun, but rather a matter of putting in the practice time. It also helps to find an experienced coach or teacher, who can help you correct the bad habits you are sure to accumulate while you learn.
When you've made your choice, report back. Half of us will agree with your purchase, and the other half won't. (And it won't matter a bit.)
"The advice to "find one that fits your hand" is just silly....... Make sure it's ergonomically correct (you can reach all the controls without shifting grip)"
Did I miss something, or did you just say the same thing using a big word? Sorry if I over simplified my comment, but that is what I meant by finding a gun that fits. The same caliber gun by different manufacturers do no all have the same measurements and we do not all have the same size hand. If the gun does not fit your hand, your grip, your reach, your style of carry, then it is not the right gun for you, no matter how many great reviews the gun may have. Choices under $400 may be limited but keep looking at some other brands/models till you'll find one you'd rather own, shoot and carry. Don't just buy a gun because someone else likes it, however that is a great reason to check it out for yourself. While Taurus and Hi Point do not have a steller record, they have their fans as well. Sometimes it seems like it can be a toss up if you are the one to get a good one or not. You say you got a couple of years yet, so that gives you plenty of time to shop, ask questions, research, learn and hopefully shoot/rent a few that you are interested in. Good luck.
I guess what I was trying to ask got lost in translation.
I'm looking for a pistol that I can use as my CCW in two years, but I want to be able to take it to the range and get comfortable with it. I guess it wouldn't be considered a target pistol once I put it in my holster, I just want to get used to the gun over the next couple of years so I know exactly what to expect from the weapon itself if a dire situation depends on it.
I have 2 years until I can apply for my CC permit. I might be able to buy a target pistol now, and get a CCW in 2 years, but like I said, I'd like to get extremely comfortable with it. Just like I got used to my shotgun and .22 rifle before I took it into the field, I want to buy a pistol and get used to it before I strap it in it's holster and have it on my person.
I'm not in a place right now that is close to any ranges that rent guns, but that's the first thing I'm going to do when I move (in about a month). I was just hoping for some advice as to what models I should look at. I was hoping to narrow it down based on the criteria I posted in the OP.
• Durability and Reliability: Stay away from Taurus and Rossi. Even well-made, short-barrel, semi-auto pistols are delicate and finicky. Hi-Point seems reliable, but too heavy to carry.
• SA or DA/SA: "DA/SA" is called "Traditional Double-Action" (TDA). Because one has to transition between two different trigger actions, this is not the best choice. For easy, safe carry, the choice is better made between Double-Action-Only (DAO) and SA. Using DAO, one needs only pull the trigger, since the long trigger pull is safety enough if your brain is working. SA semi-autos are easier to learn to shoot well because of their better triggers, but you also have to learn to use the safety lever properly. I suggest that something kind of "in between," with a relatively "soft" semi-DAO trigger, is a better beginner's choice, for instance the Glock (and other similar actions).
• Compact: The smaller the pistol, the harder it is to learn to use effectively. Small guns are definitely not beginners' tools, especially in fight-stopping calibers. The easiest pistol to learn to shoot well is the old M1911 in .45 ACP, since its weight and its soft-shooting cartridge make recoil control simple and painless.
• Price: Buy a gently-used gun. That gets you the most gun for the least money. Buy it from a reputable store and negotiate a return-for-credit guarantee. Then take the pistol to an independent gunsmith and ask him to find out what's wrong with it, and how much it'll cost to fix it. If the first purchase turns out to be a bad choice, return it and use the credit to put something else through the same test. Keep doing that until the gunsmith gives you good news.
Did that help more?
If someone has not already mentioned it you might want to look into a CPO Sig, maybe a 229 in .40 there are also numerous PD trade ins on the market place such as the S&W 5903 and some of the other S&W's also you might get lucky and find some H&K's in the market place. Sig also has some P6's out there that are 9mm single stack that have been imported from Germany which are PD trades and most are at a fairly decent price.
Thanks for the advice everyone. And yeah Steve, that was some great information, thank you!
I'm still looking around, but hopefully I can get to a shop soon to handle a few and check out the trade-ins.
Remember, to a large extent most pistols are more accurate than the shooter. Saying a gun is accurate is like saying sneakers are fast. The runner is fast, not the sneakers.
That said, most of the difference will be in how the weapon handles for you and the quality of the sights (especially the distance between the front and rear sight. In my opinion, the reason that full-sized military style guns shoot accurately lies in the facts that the distance between sights is about as long as you will see in a sidearm, and the weight of the weapon (typically quite heavy) will absorb much of the recoil.
Also, if you are quite strong, a heavy weapon's sights will "settle" in on target and be more steady.
if you can't afford an $800 pistol, how will you afford practice ammo, 25c a shot?
it takes 1000's of rds to get the familiarity that you seek? first guns, male or female, rifle or pistol, should be .22's, 4c per shot ,because of this very factor. the $1000 or more you save on ammo as you learn to use a flashlight, use cover, hit movers, hit while you are moving, hit with just the weak hand, learn to hit at night, while moving, etc, will help set you up with bullet casting and reloading gear, so that your centerfire rds cost you onlly 7c a shot, not 30c per shot. AirSoft can teach you a lot, too, at much less cost than .22lr and without going to the range.
I suggest GunBroker.com and a $250 Star 9mm BM, when you are ready for a centerfire. Until then, I suggest a used, sub-$250 private seller Browning 4" skinny barrel variant of the Buckmark. If you are into DAO, then start with the Taurus PT22 and carry a pocket 9mm, Keltec, Ruger, or the latest flavor of the day.
+1 what Steve 1911 said.
I wonder if buckler actually even owns a gun.
i wonder if you SHOOT any, except a .22, and if you have any real ability with them? Because this casual ignoring of the price of ammo and the 1000's of rds needed to attain and maintain real ability is no joke, at a cost of $300 per thousand for .40 or .45 or 357 ammo, boys. The Star Bm is a very, very fine pistol for the money, but you can't dryfire it without an empty case in the chamber, and you must swap out that empty rd every 20 or so "snaps" or the repeated firing pin blows will hole the primer cup, removing the cushioning effect of the empty rd, and breaking your firing pin. The gun groups under 3" at 25 yds with good ammo ,and that will win many, many a bullseye match, actually, because 7" groups at 50 yds mean that you score 90+ at slowfire, and if you clean the 25 yd, 3.5" 10 ring in rapid and timed fire, you will beaten by very, very few in NRA, one handed shooting! So you have to drift or file the sights to get the gun zeroed with your preferred ammo, so what? oyr you can cut a dovetail or 2 in its slide just as easily as you can a 1911 slide, and add adjustable sights. the $400 or so you save over buying a 1911 and the 10c or so per shot you save on ammo can be translated into lots more ability with the gun, in short order. The BM is more compact than a lw commander .45 and no heavier, either. In 9mm, it is more controlable, by far than the lwc in .45, too. it's as controlable as the gov't model 1911 in .45, actually.
I've been shooting for 24 years now, about 1/4 million rds fired, how about you? I am a life member of NRA and a charter member of IPSC, longtime smith, reloader, bullet caster, handgun hunter. Can you say as much?
As posted elsewhere:
buckler, you can post whatever you like from now on, and I won't engage you.
Of course, I may also post in the same thread, and write something that actually makes much better sense.
But I won't argue with you.
You are a troll and a fool. But someday you may grow up.
I have abundant confidence that the O.P. will have a better job and will be making more money in 2 years than he is now. Gosh, he might even be married by the time he turns 21.
In any event, you can prioritize your expenses and come up with enough to buy ammo.
Lunch at a fast food outlet will cost you $7.00 or $8.00. Brown bag costs less.
A cold drink at Starbucks costs about $4.00; a can of Coke in a cooler in your trunk costs less.
Driving around haphazardly is expensive. Making a to-do list allows you to organize your trips.
I think it would be pretty easy to shave $30.00 per week from your expenses and come up with enough to shoot 50 rounds per week.
In fact I would suggest that the O.P. try that for the next 5 weeks and see if it works--and add $150.00 to his purchase budget.
To suggest that the cost of ammo is irrelevant is as absurd as saying it does not matter whether you buy a Ford Focus or a Ford Expedition--until you need to put $150.00 worth of gas in the vehical.
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